Car Lease Up? How to Buy it Cheap


So there’s something about your leased car that makes it hard to let it go.  In fact, you want to buy the car when the lease runs out?

Hey, it happens.  Sometimes the buy-out price on your lease is too good to pass up. Or you lucked into a workhorse of a car that has a great mechanical history.  Or you just love the look of your car, you cherish the memories, and you’re just not ready to let go.

So how do you keep your leased car in your driveway for the best price possible?  Simple. Ask the right questions and learn to negotiate.

First, check your lease contract and look specifically for the residual value. Compare that number with your car’s brand (i.e. the same make, model, and mileage as your leased car) on auto web sites like or If the price in your contract is lower than the value price on the big auto web sites, then chances are you’ve got a good deal on your hands.

On another note, in the current downed economy, it’s a good bet that your car company doesn’t want its leased vehicle back. In most cases, the leasing company has to put the car up for sale when a lease ends. That means sprucing up the car and shipping it off to a used car lot. Those costs can add up for the leasing firm, giving them additional motivation to sell you the leased vehicle. That means they’re likely open to negotiations, with the playing field tilted in your favor.

After you check around and settle on a legitimate value for your leased car, pick a price you’re comfortable with and let the leasing company know you’re willing to buy the vehicle back at that price. Use the Auto Loan calculator to figure out how much you can and should pay. The leasing company may throw another number back at you, most likely higher, and you’ll then find yourself in negotiations mode.

When that happens, make sure you don’t mention you went over the mile limit or that there may be some damage to the car.  If that’s the case, the leasing company may claim you haven’t lived up to your end of the lease bargain and start charging you additional costs, per your leasing contract.

Above all, don’t wait until the lease is up to make an offer to buy your car. Once the dealer has it back, the process for buying the car back gets more complicated. But if you still have possession, you’ve got some leverage. If push comes to shove and you’re still negotiating, offer to extend the lease for a few more months.

Finally, when the leasing company agrees to the deal, make sure they deduct your security deposit from the purchase price. They may or may not remind you of that, so it’s up to you to push the issue.

Buying the leased car you love can be complicated, but it’s highly doable. Just know your facts and use all the leverage you can. Chances are that if you want the car bad enough, you can cut a great deal.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at

Show Comments

Back to Top